How to Maximize Your Experience at the 2024 Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo

Insights from Industry Expert Amber Salley

Attending the 2024 Gartner Supply Chain Symposium conference can be a game-changer for supply chain executives. With abundant sessions, networking opportunities, and exhibitors, planning your visit can be overwhelming. Amber Salley, GAINS VP of Industry Solutions, a supply chain veteran, and a former Gartner supply chain technology analyst, shares invaluable advice on how to make the most of your time at the Symposium.

Here is a 9-step guide to the Gartner Symposium/Xpo based on Amber’s (a 17-time Symposium attendee) expert tips to help you get the most out of your trip to Orlando this year!

1. Set Clear Objectives

Before you even step foot in Orlando, defining what you want to achieve at the symposium is crucial. Are you looking to expand your professional network, gain insights from industry leaders, or explore new technologies? Amber emphasizes the importance of going into the conference with clear goals. This sharpens your focus and guides your choices of sessions and activities.

2. Plan Your Agenda Wisely

With multiple tracks and overlapping sessions, the symposium offers a wide range of topics covering the entire spectrum of supply chain management. Amber suggests carefully reviewing the event schedule in advance and planning your agenda. Highlight sessions that are most relevant to your objectives. Remember, logistics play a big part in your day; note the locations of sessions to manage your transit times effectively between them. And, save time to spend on the exhibit floor!

3. Utilize the Conference Navigator App

According to Amber, the Gartner Conference Navigator app is a crucial tool. It helps attendees manage their personal conference agendas, provides maps of the venue, and enables networking through attendee messaging features. The app also provides a quick synopsis of session presentations to give attendees a sense of what will be covered in each session. Attendees can also get alerts for upcoming sessions, ensuring you don’t miss anything meaningful due to a long conversation or a remote session room.

4. Leverage Networking Opportunities

Networking is often cited as one of the top benefits of attending professional conferences. The Gartner Supply Chain Symposium/Xpo brings together over 3,900 supply chain executives, offering a unique opportunity to connect with peers, industry leaders, and innovators. Amber points out that these connections can provide diverse perspectives and insights that are not readily available in your everyday work environment.

5. Focus on Educational Sessions

The educational sessions at the symposium are gold mines of information, with Gartner analysts and other thought leaders sharing cutting-edge research and trends. Amber recommends attending these sessions to stay updated on industry developments and to gather actionable insights that can directly impact your work. Knowledge can transform your approach and strategies, whether supply chain planning, logistics, or inventory management.

6. Attend Case Studies and Real-World Applications

Case studies are particularly beneficial as they showcase real-world applications of theories and concepts discussed in educational sessions. Amber notes that these sessions often stick with attendees because they relate directly to their organization’s challenges and opportunities. However, since not all case studies are recorded, prioritize these to gain direct insights from those in the trenches

To truly appreciate the practical impact of advanced inventory optimization, don’t miss our session on L’Oréal’s Journey to Inventory Optimization Excellence on Tuesday, May 7 at 3:00 pm. Join L’Oréal’s Lisa Kaytor and GAINS Co-Founder Bill Benton as they unfold the transformative strategies that have propelled L’Oréal to new heights in supply chain management. This is a unique opportunity to gain firsthand insights from industry leaders on enhancing resilience and efficiency in complex supply environments. Make sure to prioritize this session to see theory put into powerful practice!

7. Explore the Exhibitor Showcase

Do not overlook the exhibitor showcase. This segment of the symposium is where innovative solutions are displayed, and technology vendors demonstrate their latest products. According to Amber, this is where “the art of the possible” unfolds for many attendees. Learning about new technologies that could enhance your supply chain operations is an excellent opportunity. See Amber at Booth #1013 while you are there!

8. Prepare for Logistics

Amber warns that navigating a large conference venue can be challenging. Attendees should know the symposium space’s physical layout and plan accordingly to maximize their time between sessions. She advises considering the time it takes to travel from one session to another and sometimes choosing a session based on logistical convenience.

9. Keep an Open Mind

Finally, while it’s essential to plan, Amber suggests keeping an open mind and being flexible. Opportunities for spontaneous meetings or intriguing side sessions can arise. Allow yourself the flexibility to take advantage of unexpected opportunities that align with your broader goals for attending the symposium.

Amber Salley’s Must-See Gartner Sessions

The Gartner Supply Chain Symposium offers a wide array of sessions catering to various field interests. These sessions are particularly interesting to professionals eager to enhance their supply chain operations and decision-making strategies. They highlight the importance of integrating new technological solutions and embracing innovative practices to stay competitive in today’s complex market environments. Make sure to plan your schedule to include these insightful sessions and take full advantage of the learning opportunities at the symposium.

Here are some of her recommendations:

L’Oréal’s Journey to Inventory Optimization Excellence

When: Tuesday, May 7 at 3:00 pm

Where: Swan Ballroom 10

Speakers: Lisa Kaytor, AVP Supply Chain Data Science and Analytics, L’Oréal; Bill Benton, Co-founder, GAINS

This session dives into L’Oréal’s significant strides in inventory optimization throughout 2023. Attendees will learn how L’Oréal implemented GAINS’ advanced planning technologies and leveraged deep industry expertise to achieve comprehensive multi-echelon optimization across their sprawling network and extensive material catalog. The talk will feature insights from Lisa Kaytor, who will discuss the challenges and triumphs of driving such a large-scale transformation within L’Oréal.

Key Takeaways:

  • Understand the practical application of composable solutions and pragmatic AI in inventory management.
  • Explore strategies for augmenting existing infrastructures and managing change effectively.
  • Gain insights into handling complex demand and supply volatility to enhance overall supply chain resilience and efficiency.

Improved Decision-Making Drives Superior Outcomes

When: Monday, May 6th at 12:05 pm

Speakers: Amber Salley, VP of Industry Solutions, GAINS; Jeff Metersky, VP of Solution Strategy, GAINS

Where: Stage 3 of the Pacific Hall

This session will explore the emerging trends in decision engineering, where decision science, data science, and operations research converge. Amber Salley and Jeff Metersky, VP of Industry Solutions, will discuss how these disciplines integrate with composable services to revolutionize decision-making processes in supply chain management.

Key Takeaways:

  • Learn about the advancements in decision science and how they can be applied to optimize decision-making in real time.
  • Discover the benefits of a composable, service-oriented architecture in enhancing the capabilities of existing systems.
  • Gain insights into systematic methods that drive better decision-making and can adapt to the evolving needs of businesses.

Transform Your Supply Chain Strategy and Performance by Driving Optimized Network Outcomes

When: Wednesday, May 8th at 4:15 PM

Speakers: Paul Lord, Sr Director Analyst, Gartner

Where: Northern Hemisphere E, WDW Dolphin Hotel

Lack of organizational alignment remains the top barrier to improved supply chain performance. This session will demonstrate and provide examples of how strategy can be unified around 3 operating outcomes to create clarity on the roadmap and deliver breakthrough performance improvements for profitable business growth.

Diagnose and Overcome Excess Inventory Drivers to Balance Cashflow and Profitable Growth

When: Tuesday, May 7th at 1:15 PM

Speakers: Paul Lord, Sr Director Analyst, Gartner

Where: Swan Ballroom 6

Supply chain leaders are constantly pressured to control and reduce inventory yet face multiple forms of organizational resistance to implementing the required changes. This session will provide information and inspiration to prepare supply chain leaders for the challenge of aligning diverse stakeholders around reasonable expectations and effective improvement plans.

The Antifragile Supply Chain — Thriving Due to Uncertainty

When: Monday, May 6th at 5:00 PM

Speakers: John Dixon, Managing Vice President, Gartner

Where: Northern Hemisphere C, WDW Dolphin Hotel

Two-thirds of supply chains lose value when exposed to uncertainty. This increases to 86% when the uncertainty exposure is considerable. Given a VUCA environment and CEO growth agendas, CSCO need their supply chains to thrive due to uncertainty. This requires a move into the antifragile state. This session explores antifragility and what leading supply chains are doing to become antifragile.

Visit GAINS at Booth #1013

Don’t miss the opportunity to connect directly with GAINS experts, including Amber Salley and her team, and learn about GAINS Halo360° Decision Engineering and Orchestration Platform. The booth will be a hub for deeper discussions of composable services, personalized consultations, and a closer look at GAINS’ innovative solutions.

By following Amber’s expert advice, you can ensure that attending the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium in Orlando is enjoyable and profoundly beneficial for your professional development and your company’s strategic goals. Whether making new contacts, absorbing new information, or discovering innovative technologies, the symposium offers a wealth of opportunities to advance your expertise and effectiveness in supply chain management.

Schedule a Meeting:To ensure you get dedicated time with GAINS experts, including Amber, consider scheduling a meeting in advance through the GAINS website or directly at the booth. See you in Orlando!

Amber Salley

is the Vice President of Industry Solutions at GAINS. She has a background in supply chain management and has been recognized by Supply Chain Executive for her lifetime achievement in supply chain. Before joining GAINS, Amber worked at Gartner, where she was part of the supply chain practice. At Gartner, she focused on providing research and content for supply chain executives, particularly chief supply chain officers, contributing to their understanding and implementing best practices and advancements in the field.

Her experience includes deep involvement with IT and supply chain research. She has been instrumental in helping businesses understand and navigate the complexities of supply chain management, particularly in enterprise resource planning (ERP) and inventory optimization. At GAINS, Amber leverages her extensive knowledge to help develop industry-specific solutions that address the unique challenges faced by various sectors in managing and optimizing their supply chains.

Thought Leadership:

From GAINS experts attending the Gartner Supply Chain Symposium Xpo.